October 26, 2004


There can never be net gain in a closed system. The earth is a closed system, thus, there can never be net gain on earth, minus breaches into the system by meteors or matter we project outside the system via rocket technology. These minor breaches are rare exceptions to the rule, given the total mass of our system and what manages to come in or out. Some erroneously argue that the earth is not a closed system because the suns energy radiates upon the earth. However, a closed system is defined by the flow of matter and not the flow of energy. Moreover, the suns rays and energy input never results in a net gain to the system due to the fact that the earth radiates the energy back out beyond the boundaries of the system. If this were not the case then the earth would become to hot from the net gain of heat energy from the sun (global warming occurs when gases prevent trap the infrared radiation from dispersing back out, thus causing the earth to have a net gain in temperature).

The wisdom born from these natural laws reveal that there can never be a gain without a proportional loss. Every action produces a reaction and the reaction has an equal and opposite offset. Thus, when examining issues and phenomenon that involves human actions and energy, there is always an offset or proportional trade off. There is no “win-win” scenario in the nature of closed systems. There is no win-win scenario in politics or economics, because all is governed by the laws of closed systems. In short, it’s a zero sum game under a closed system.

People often involve themselves in the ranking game between various sub systems of our closed system. They argue that capitalism or Marxism is superior to the other. They argue that democracy or communism is superior to the other. They argue conservatism or liberalism is superior to the other. However, in truth, all of these systems produce negating offsets to their benefits, the distinction and difference being the product of when the offsets takes place temporally (in time). Some offsets are real time (immediate) and some offsets are conserved into the future.

Such debates over systems and approaches are akin to a debate which attempts to determine what running strategy is superior between that of a sprinter and the marathon runner. All comparisons generally amount to measuring performance at a given point in time or between given points in time. Thus, if a sprinter is matched up against a marathon runner, with both doing what they are best at, a point in time measurement means nothing. What matters is the point in time in context with the start anf finish line. Obviously the sprinters massive expenditure of energy will put it ahead at a given point in time nearest to the start due to the moderate use of energy by the marathon runner. A point in time in the future is likely to produce burnout for the sprinter at which point the marathon runner eventualy surpases. Indeed it is the child hood story of the tortois and hare.

It goes without saying that if the finish line is nearer the finish line to the start, the sprinter advantage increases, while the farther from the start it decreases, while the opposite is true of the marathon runner. Each have equal store of energy that propels them forward but each uses a different amount of energy in a given unit of time. When one applies this theory to capitalism vs. Marxism or communism, it is obvious which system is most productive at given point in time. However, no one knows were the finish line is and the offset of capitalism being less real time portends a coming calamitous offset for future generations. Communism, in comparison, offsets are more real time and the people’s lives and standard of living in juxtaposition are meager in comparison. But the question is one of sustainability, ultimately.

In all our debates we fail to look at points in time relative to the finish line, thus most peoples contrast and comparisons are faulty. The truth is that if capitalism had its way and propagated itself ubiquitously around the globe, with each nation emulating the success and consumption of the West, the earth’s resources would be depleted and there would be an ecological calamity as well. No matter how capitalist proponents say the capitalism is good for the world, it is not, assuming that it produces the success that they claim. The reason being is that it is not sustainable in the long term, given the resourced needed to fuel those massive energy expenditures. Thus, humanity would simply be trading increased status and pleasure in the short run, for deprivation and pain in the long run for subsequent generations.

Contrary to what some will say, I am not condemning capitalism, but rather, simply pointing out the reality of it. Thus, I am not condemning capitalism, but the fallacies that are preached concerning it.


At 2:06 PM, Blogger Scott said...

You are wrong.

Let me try again to explain why ?

First closed system has to be closed to both matter and energy since they are the same thing.

So your statement " However, a closed system is defined by the flow of matter and not the flow of energy. " is just wrong.

Your statement "Moreover, the suns rays and energy input never results in a net gain to the system due to the fact that the earth radiates the energy back out beyond the boundaries of the system." is also wrong. Where do you think oil came from, stored solar energy converted to bio-mass then converted to oil. If we had a closed system no oil, no coal, no food. Or rain, or water power or windpower...

Next: All matter/energy is not of equivalent use due to the second law of themodynamics. So yes the energy in 1 barrel of oil might be equal to the heat in a house. But one can be used in different ways while the other can not.

One sq mile can grow either cotton or corn. Then might be of the same mass but they are of different utility.

So not only is your simplistic model wrong technically, it continues to miss the point.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...


Scott...you do not know your @ss from your elbow! The Energy from the sun is generated from the suns mass. The mass of the earth does not increase do to the fact that the energy from the sun radiates back out, thus, never a net increase in mass.

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Furthermore Scott, fossil fuel such as petroleum and coal, are simply decayed organic life. The matter existed in the earth upon its formation. There is no new matter its just changes if form and in space. Oil is not NEW matter created from the sun. If the sun created the things that you mention, in and of itself, then why they hell are not this things found on the moon? The moon gets sunlight as well.

Learn the difference between your > and ()() and then come back and share your intellect and wisdom

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Scott said...

You are correct, closed system does have a different definition than isolated system.

But the energy is the point not the mass. Our economy is powered by energy OIL, the energy (except for nuclear, and geothermal) doesn't come from mass it comes from the energy of the sun.

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Uhhhh….you never mentioned anything about isolated systems Scott….likely, you never heard the term before the link I provided…so do not play like you were confusing the two concepts. You were simply talking about something that you don’t know….which seems to be a proclivity of yours.

I’m going to give you a chance to do some more research in regard to your other point concerning Oil not being matter before I call you an idiot.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Scott said...

As a student of physics we look at open and closed system, your link was a geologist with open, closed and isolated systems. So we were talking slightly different definition thus the confusion.

So when I say closed system i mean mass/energy closed, which in your definition is an isolated system.

But the point of this thread is using this as a metaphor for economics.

Our industry is built on ENERGY. Wether the food energy, oil, wind or hydroelectric. All of this ENERGY comes from outside of the earth. Do you understand this point ? Do you agree with it ? or disagree with it ?

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Well everything supposedly started with the “Big Bang” and not from the earth outward. Thus, Earth and all its matter/energy (use full or non use full) originated from and as a reaction to, something else. My point is in regards to the equilibrium post “big bang” and post the formation of the earth and its atmosphere. Organic material is living material. Fossil fuels are ex living material. Life, as we know it, could not exist without the suns energy. However, the matter that exists on the earth, in conjunction with energy from the sun (which radiates in and out) creates life. Without the sun, there could be no life. The absorption of the proper amount of the suns energy changes the form of matter on earth into life…but it does not create matter.

Regardless, my use of the model was simply to make the point that in order for something to gain, something must be lost, within a closed system. All things experience entropy and thus are finite in regards to useful energy. My point is that you cannot get more out of anything than that which you put in, which is the first law of thermodynamics. All you can do is SHIFT from one form and space to another form and space, with no net gain…and in fact, with a loss due to entropy.

As an example of what I am saying our modernity and science has allowed us to live longer and more comfortable lives. However, our modernity and science also give us greater powers of destructions, which will ultimately be unleashed to destroy the majority of mankind or purpose or accident. Thus, as we profit in the short run from the gains of science, in the long run this science will likely shorten the otherwise existence of humankind. There is always a tradeoff that manifest. There is always a reaction to actions. Some reactions are real-time and some are conserved. Being a student of physics, which you proclaim, I am sure that you are aware of the theories and laws of conservation of energy or resultant reactions.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Scott said...

I am glad you finally understand that most of the energy we use on earth comes from outside of Earth. It comes from the sun.

The fact that the matter on earth doesn't change is irrelvant. The energy from the sun, counters entropy.

As I have said before carbon and hydrogen and oxygen have always existed on earth. But it takes the sun to turn it into a plant or a cow, Iron ore might have existed on earth, but it take oil or coal to turn it into steel. It takes idea to turn sand into fiber optic cables.

Ideas, energy are all outside of your closed system that you pretend is a zero sum game. It is not a zero sum game.

Its is very possible that our standard of living is not sustainable, but it is also possible that it will be sustainable. We have enough energy, we have enough matter, and we are creating more ideas every day.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Finally understand? Don’t make me laugh. Your point about the sun is actually irrelevant. The only reason that you brought it up because you thought it repudiated my closed system statement, which you then hoped would repudiate my whole thesis and conclusion. Then I presented a link that burst your bubble and you had to acquiesce to the truth. Now you are on another irrelevant tangent about the sun and energy. Give me some example of your theory are work, repudiating that there can be no gain without loss in the system!

All human ACTION that is not reflexive is born from human thought and ideas. Human actions, born from thoughts, is what effects matter and energy and produces reactions.


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